Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 9.27.05 PMMany patients have heard that their health care plan offers them a free annual wellness visit without a co-pay or coinsurance, but few patients take advantage of this service because they are confused about what it is and how it differs from an “annual physical”. The Annual Wellness Visit is not the same thing as what many people often refer to as their yearly physical exam.  Insurance companies are very specific about what the “Annual Wellness Visit” includes and excludes.

At the Annual Wellness Visit, your doctor will talk to you about your medical history, review your risk factors, and make a personalized prevention plan to keep you healthy.  The visit does not include a hands-on exam or any testing that your doctor may recommend, nor does it include any discussion about any new or current medical problems, conditions, or medications.  You may schedule another visit to address those issues. If we address any medical problems, conditions, or new complaints during this visit, your insurance company will consider it an office visit and require you to pay a co-payment and your corresponding co-insurance.

If you would like to schedule an annual physical, including any lab work or other diagnostic testing, medication management, vaccinations, and other services, please understand that these services will be charged and covered according to your health insurance company’s usual coverage guidelines.  However, you may still develop a care plan based on the Annual Wellness Visit criteria.

Below is an extensive list of the services included in all annual wellness visits.  Research has shown that most doctors do not consistently talk to their patients about weight loss, smoking cessation, appropriate diet, and age appropriate screening tests during visits in visits when they are addressing specific medical conditions or problems. The annual wellness visit is an opportunity to review your medical history, identify risk factors to your health, and discuss a plan to prevent illness and improve your health in the future.

Services provided in an Annual Wellness Visit *This visit is subject to the terms of your insurance policy

  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screening for men of specified ages who have ever smoked
  • Alcohol Misuse screening and counseling
  • Aspirin Use to prevent cardiovascular disease
  • Blood Pressure screening
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Osteoporosis screening for post-menopausal women
  • Cervical cancer screening for women
  • Breast cancer mammography screenings every 1-2 years for women over age 40
  • Prostate cancer screening for men over age 50
  • Colorectal Cancer screening for adults over 50
  • Depression screening for all adults
  • Diabetes (Type 2) screening for adults
  • Diet counseling for adults at higher risk for chronic disease
  • HIV screening for everyone ages 15 to 65, and other ages at increased risk
  • Immunization vaccines for adults–doses, recommended ages, and recommended populations vary:
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Herpes Zoster
  • Human Papillomavirus
  • Influenza (Flu Shot)
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis
  • Varicella Zoster
  • Obesity screening and counseling
  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention counseling
  • Tobacco Use screening for all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users

What you should bring to your Annual Wellness Visit:

  • List of all your doctors.
  • List of all your medications.
  • Reports of any laboratory tests, imaging studies, or procedures you have had done in the past year.
  • Copy of any advanced directives or living will you have.

We appreciate the trust you put in us to take care of your health care needs and hope that you will take advantage of this new benefit to work with us in creating your personalized prevention plan. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 850-696-4000.  You may also request an online appointment.